Lack of sleep increases risk of stroke in older adults: study

Boston – Sleeping less than six hours a night can significantly increase an older adult’s risk of developing stroke symptoms, according to a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Researchers analyzed 5,666 participants 45 and older who reported a normal body mass index and no history of a stroke or stroke symptoms, such as weakness or numbness on one half of the body, loss of vision in one or both eyes, inability to understand others, and an inability to express oneself. They found a link between sleeping less than six hours at night and increased incidence of stroke symptoms after adjusting for BMI. Additionally, no association between short sleep periods and stroke symptoms among overweight and obese participants was observed.

People who have experienced stroke symptoms or are having trouble sleeping should make more time for sleep and see their physician, researchers concluded.

The study was presented June 11 at the SLEEP 2012 conference in Boston.

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